A Wainfleet teenager will be one of thousands of people across Lincolnshire joining the St Barnabas Hospice Light Up A Life campaign this Christmas.
Jack Covill-Lowndes, age 15 from Wainfleet, will join campaign, in remembrance of his mum, Stephanie Covill.
Stephanie sadly died on 8th June 2006, age 33, from cancer. She received her diagnosis when Jack was only 10-weeks old, after a routine eye examination showed a lump behind her eye. She died when he was just three.
Jack said, “When I was little, we used to play Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. My mum bought me some musical toys and we used to pretend we were in a band; I liked being the drummer, and my mum played the guitar. It’s hard because I don’t remember much and rely on other people’s memories of my mum a lot.”
Jack now lives with his auntie and uncle, Tamara and Steve Lowndes in Wainfleet, and attends Skegness Grammar School. Tamara is Stephanie’s sister.
Jack said, “We always do special things at Christmas time to remember Mum. We visit her grave every Christmas Day after the Queen’s Speech, and I always take her an orange cream out of the Roses chocolate tin. My mum used to count how many chocolates were in the tin every year; I do that now. We also have a red candle that we light on special occasions to remember Mum.”
Jack’s Auntie Tamara, said, “Jack was an absolute miracle baby. He was born six weeks premature, and the doctors told us that if he had gone full term he would have been brain damaged because of a cancerous growth in Steph’s groin.
“St Barnabas was there when we needed them most, and as a family we all needed help in different ways. My mum was the main carer for Steph, and was beginning to struggle with her own health. St Barnabas realised this and offered night time help so Mum could have a rest. Jack was only very young, but he loved the attention that the nurses gave him.
Jack has done a lot of fundraising in memory of his mum, including organising three fun run family events. He has raised around £7,000 already and plans to raise even more in the future. This is such a huge accomplishment for someone who is only fifteen years old.
Jack said, “I get told regularly that Mum would be beaming with pride if she could see the things I have done in her memory. I know my mum was generous, and I hope this is a trait which lives on in me. I’m hoping to arrange a charity football match next year too.
“In 2013 I received an award from the Skegness Standard for Child Achievement, as well as winning a national competition for being a Child of Courage. I’m particularly proud that St Barnabas recognised my fundraising efforts in 2015 by awarding me the Jules King Award.”
Jack’s mum was there through all of his first milestones – his first tooth, first words, first steps etc. She continued caring for him to the best of her abilities, even though she was wheelchair bound.
Tamara said, “When we went on days out, Steph would always have her wheelchair next to Jack’s pushchair, and they would hold hands. Before she died, Steph asked me to keep her baby safe, and made me promise that he would always use his manners.
“Steph tried explaining to him that she was poorly and that one day she would have to go to heaven in the sky, where she would be a shining star. After Steph had died, I found Jack sat outside picking daisies and throwing them to the sky. I asked what he was doing and he told me he was throwing them to “Mummy in the sky.” The brave boy had listened and understood what his Mum had explained to him.
“Jack has grown into an amazing young man, and I know my sister will be looking down on him with so much pride.”
If you would like to dedicate a light in memory of someone you will never forget, just like Jack is doing for his mum, please visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk/LUAL